In 2017, Justin Townes Earle made a rare appearance with his father Steve Earle on the elder’s SiriusXM’s Hardcore Troubadour Radio. Justin was there to promote his blues album Kids in the Street. It resulted in a fascinating conversation where Steve recalled the day he heard his son playing Nirvana’s Unplugged — and saw an opportunity to introduce Justin to Lightnin’ Hopkins and Leadbelly. Steve said how happy he was to see his son channeling the blues on his new album.
One of those new songs was “Champagne Corolla,” a full-band, 12-bar love letter to a car that Justin had first seen in the second grade: “I had a teacher when I was in second grade who had a champagne-color Corolla that stuck in my head,” Justin said. “I remember asking, telling her that her car is pink and she said, ‘No, it’s champagne.’ That stuck with me years later for some reason, probably one of the only things that stuck with me from her class.”
On his dad’s radio show, Justin played a deeply soulful version of the song, stripping it down completely to nothing but his voice and a tiny Recording King acoustic. It’s a reminder of the huge talent we just lost. The full interview between Justin and his father is airing Monday at 11 a.m. ET, and again at 8 p.m. ET, on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country.